Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gnocchi with Burnt Butter and Sage

Its really important to use the best quality unsalted butter you can get in this dish.


1 serve of gnocchi, about 500g
1/3 cup unsalted butter
about 20 sage leaves
sea salt and black pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese


Melt the butter in a frying pan and then add the sage leaves. Cook until the butter has stopped foaming and has turned a nut brown colour and the leaves are crisp (about 6 minutes).
Cook the gnocchi in boiling, salted water for 6 minutes then drain and add to the frying pan. Toss to coat with the burnt sage butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and eat immediately.


My tiny sage plant

Sage is a small perenial shrub with woody stems, greyish leaves and small blue flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean which means it is perfect for our climate here in Adelaide. It is a member of the mint family and is used as a culinary and medicinal herb.

Sage has a slight peppery flavour and in Western cooking it is often use to flavour fatty meat such as pork, duck and eel. It is also used in pâté, meat loaves and sausages and goes very well with cheese. It is commonly used in Italian cooking, sautéed in olive oil and butter until crisp then pasta such as gnocchi is added.

Its botanical name 'Salvia' is derived from the Latin word 'salvatio' which means 'to heal' and sage has for centuries been considered one of the most important medicinal herbs.

It is said to aid digestion (hence its use in rich and fatty dishes) and is used in medicinal teas to relieve symptoms of colds, headaches and nervous tension. The infusion can also be used as an antiseptic mouthwash for sore throats, ulcers and bleeding gums. The dried leaves can be ground into a powder and rubbed on the teeth to clean, strengthen and whiten them. The Greeks and Romans used sage on snake bites and sores and even today some people use an infusion for skin disorders. Its even thought to be a cure for dandruff and the plague and has been found effective in managing Alzheimer's disease! Sprigs of sage left among clothes are believed to discourage insects and rodents.

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